FINANCIAL savings on lost productivity for travel times alone justify the retention of the shire’s $80,000-a-year central Melbourne office, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council was told last week.
Business support team leader Sally Milne, in a report to council’s 21 April meeting, said the office would “continue to benefit our ratepayers with improved customer service”.
“It has already provided council with a significant competitive edge in attracting and retaining high quality staff that find it easier and more accessible to work out of a CBD office for part of the week,” Ms Milne said.
Her report, authorised by planning and building director David Bergin, said other benefits of the CBD office included easy access for the shire’s senior leadership team and executive group as well as its proximity to VCAT.
“This aligns with a council decision in March 2018: ‘That such an office be no further than a 10 minute walk from Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal’,” Ms Milne said.
The annual $80,000 cost of the CBD office includes a leasing fee of $64,055, as well as additional costs, including the kitchen, IT, and transport to and from.
While acknowledging a “negative perception by some ratepayers that the cost of leasing a CBD office should not take precedence over other initiatives”, Ms Milne said: “As a result of the office, we have retained six staff members this year at a saving of $60,000-$90,000 in recruitment costs.
“In addition … estimated savings in travel and lost productivity time … is $25,380 and [is] conservatively a total savings of $37,800 by the end of June 2020.”
Most shire planning staff reportedly work out of the Mornington office five days a week. Staff working out of the city office can receive and make calls via the MiTel phone system, which can be accessed through all staff laptops.
The council voted to receive and noted the report, which included endorsements by staff: Melbourne Central Business District Satellite Office – Update.